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Oncologist Umberto Veronesi, Father of Cancer Research, Dead at 90

Alex Catti (November 09, 2016)
  • Umberto Veronesi
Umberto Veronesi, a prominent oncologist, passed away November 8th at his home in Milan. Veronesi was famous for the work that he has done in preventing and treating breast cancer. He founded the Istituto Oncologico Italiano (IEO) in 1991, and he pioneered the surgical technique known as quadrantectomy, a minimally invasive procedure that is an alternative to a mastectomy.

Umberto Veronesi was born in Milan in 1925. 25 years later, in 1950, he graduated with a degree in medicine and surgery. He worked at the “Istituto dei Tumori” where he then became the director. In 1982, alongside Laudomia Del Drago, Veronesi founded the Scuola Europea di Oncologia. His ultimate goal aimed to reduce the number of cancer deaths due to late diagnosis or inadequate treatment. 9 years later in 1991, he founded the Istituto Oncologico Italiano.

In addition to his research in cancer, Veronesi made many other meaningful contributions. He is the founder of the “Fondazione Umberto Veronesi per il progresso delle scienze", an organization created to give grants towards scientific research. He believed that politics needed to realize the importance of public research because without it, the only funding would come from businesses. Veronesi was also involved in politics as the Minister of Health in the Second Amato Administration from 2000-2001 and also a senator from 2008- 2011. He was not only interested in helping people; he also spent a great deal of time fighting for the rights of animals and was a strong promoter of vegetarianism.

Veronesi was surrounded by his wife, Sultana Razon, and his children before he passed. He would have been 91 this November. The cause of his death is not yet known, but it was reported that over the past few weeks his health had been progressively deteriorating.

Both Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarella expressed warm sentiments about the late oncologist. Renzi was holding a rally regarding the impending constitutional referendum when he invited the public to applaud Veronesi for the revolutionary work that he has done in the field of healthcare. President Sergio Mattarella stated “Veronesi always supported his professional obligations with a passion and a desire to build, together with others, a common good [...] Umberto Veronesi brought honor to Italy, and our republic will pay tribute to him in the certainty that others are following, and will continue to follow, his path.” Although Veronesi will be missed, his scientific achievements live on in the scientific community, and the organizations he founded will continue to make contributions to future empirical research. 

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